by Kemi Nekvapil ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 19, 2023
Uplifting advice for fellow seekers encouraged by self-help guidance.
An Australian career coach offers a set of principles for boosting self-worth and thwarting self-negating thoughts.
“I was born in England to middle-class Nigerian parents in the 1970s,” writes Nekvapil, who was a foster child in five different white families before she was 18. Many Nigerian families, she writes, fostered their children through white families, hoping to give them “the best opportunities in life.” From an early age, the author had to quash the self-defeating ideas about being a Black woman that society has thrust upon her. Initially trained as an actor, Nekvapil became a bakery entrepreneur before moving to Australia with her husband to start a family. She addresses honestly the kind of prejudice she has had to overcome as a Black woman, rejecting the instinct to apologize or make herself small and invisible. She emphasizes the necessity of shifting the paradigm from thinking that we must have external power over someone else to nurture an internal sense of power, and she sets out five “Power Principles,” which include presence, ownership, wisdom, equality, and responsibility. Considering each of these straightforward principles, Nekvapil offers letters from readers about their own stories. Most helpfully, after each section, the author poses questions that engage readers in active reflection—e.g., “What one action could you take today to practice presence?” “Who or what do you need to see to feel that you belong?” Finally, Nekvapil discusses the benefits of having real power, which could include the power of money, the power to lead, and the power of privilege. The final exercise is putting these many principles into action: “Practice owning your thoughts, your words, your voice, your power.” Influenced by the work of Elizabeth Gilbert, Martha Beck, and others, Nekvapil imparts how not to be afraid of power.Uplifting advice for fellow seekers encouraged by self-help guidance.
Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Penguin Life
Review Posted Online: July 6, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023
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by Jonah Berger ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2023
Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.
Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.
By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.
Pub Date: March 7, 2023
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Harper Business
Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023
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by Matthew McConaughey ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 20, 2020
A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.
“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.
Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020
Page Count: 304
Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020
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